Names Given to Children of C. elegans Scientists Will Now Require Jonathan Hodgkin’s Approval (Oxford UK). In a move widely viewed as a gross overreach on the part of the C. elegans Genetics Center and WormBase, Jonathan Hodgkin has been authorized to oversee the naming of all human progeny spawned by C. elegans researchers. The apparent last-minute power grab follows in the wake of the announcement that Tim Schedl of Washington University will soon be taking over for Hodgkin. Although initial reports suggested that all children would be categorized by three- or four-letter names, followed by a number, recent statements from Hodgkin suggest at least some degree of flexibility. “We’re not trying to dictate everything,” said a conciliatory Hodgkin, “however, basic standards must be maintained for the sake of the field.” “For example,” he continued, “this practice of christening all of one’s offspring with the same first letter, like ‘Kylee’, ‘Kaleb’ and ‘Kirsten’, simply must stop.” “Also,” added a visibly frustrated Hodgkin, “enough of the weird spellings for common names already. There is no bloody ‘y’ in Alex. The pillars of our field all have boring traditional names like Bob, John, Sydney, Alan, Marty, and Andy. It didn’t stop them from distinguishing themselves, did it?” “It’s what’s on the inside that counts,” went on Hodgkin, forcing a smile and speaking more calmly. “But if you’re thinking of naming your daughter McKayla or Micalya or some such nonsense, think again. Maybe that’s okay for a Drosophila geneticist, but not in my house and not on my watch dammit!”

Hobert Laboratory Experiences “Deeply Concerning” Month-Long Drought in Publications (New York, NY). A failure to publish any articles during the past 26 days has led to speculation of deep-seated problems within the normally productive laboratory of Oliver Hobert. An official statement issued by the laboratory cited “complications with certain experiments, the untimely departure of several key personnel and one particularly unreasonable reviewer at Nature” as causative factors in the lab’s notable decline. Nevertheless, sources close to the lab say that while the Hobert lab may well be down, it is far from out. According to the official statement, the laboratory intends to “re-double our efforts in order to publish 8­­–10 papers a month for the remainder of the year.” If accomplished, this would put the laboratory on target for publishing 102 papers in 2013, down from 391 in 2012.

Roller Worm Having ‘One of Those Days’ (Petri Dish, 20°C). A left-handed roller is “just having one of those days, I guess,” the mildly aggravated adult hermaphrodite reported at an impromptu press conference. “I feel like I’m expending quite a bit of effort but not getting anywhere,” continued the 7-day-old gravid nematode. “Plus, I’m running out of food in my immediate vicinity and can’t seem to navigate to the thicker part of the lawn.” “Damn that OP50 smells good though,” added the roller, who will likely bag within the next 48 hours in the absence of productive locomotion. “But it’s important to be comfortable in one’s own cuticle,” said the largely resigned but grotesquely twisted round worm. “I am what I am and that’s no one’s fault. It’s not like some evil all-controlling being purposely engineered me to be this way. That would be sick!”

Vulval Monologues Opens to Critical Acclaim (Minneapolis, MN). A performance piece highlighting the critical role of the nematode vulva in egg laying and mating has received largely positive reviews from the nation’s theatre critics. The play, which consists of approximately 80 short monologues, highlights the essential roles of the anchor cell and Delta/Notch signaling in vulval patterning as well as the unique plights of Vul and Muv mutants. Performers include a diverse cast that spans the Caenorhabditis genus (elegans, briggsae, remanei, japonicaand sp. 5) and also incorporates more-divergent roundworm species. In a particularly shattering piece, entitled “7”, the fate of apoptotic VPCs in Pristionchus pacificus is described in great mechanistic detail. Other monologues take a more light-hearted approach, such as the comedic piece entitled “No Ciceptive No Pain”, which describes the experience of UTSE perforation in young adult hermaphrodites. The play is not without controversy, however, as the Mog, Fog and Tra communities have taken issue with the play’s lack of inclusion and relatively narrow focus. In addition, a musical highlighting the male C. elegans experience will be premiering in early 2014 entitled “The Ray Raps”.